Have you heard? Star Alumni is BACK and we’re beyond excited! We love providing our stand-out alumni with the ability to join us again because a second (or third, or maybe even fourth!) Rustic experience gives you the opportunity to improve both the cross cultural and personal skill sets you started to build on your first trip.

The more time you spend abroad, the more you develop the ability to communicate across cultures, adapt to new environments, and be resourceful—three skills highly valued by college admissions officers. Independent thinkers and problem solvers who can interact well with people from different backgrounds are the types of students colleges want to welcome into their freshman class (they’re also the type of people employers want to hire).

Read on to hear directly from our alumni why they keep coming back. TBH, their reasons (which include the friendships they make and their desire to keep working on meaningful service) made us want to sign up for another Rustic adventure ASAP!

Why I Keep Coming Back: The Benefits of Traveling Abroad a Second Time

I’ve made new friends traveling with Rustic 

“After five years, I continue booking Rustic trips because of the people I meet. I have gone on four trips with one of my best friends that I was lucky enough to meet on my first trip in Costa Rica. Even though she lives in Chicago, we see each other once a year, whether it is in Fiji, Peru, or Southeast Asia. I always think about how I would never have had the experiences that I have without Rustic, and I would have never met some of my best friends without being involved in Rustic Pathways. Everyone that goes on a Rustic Trip loves adventure and wants to be traveling with friends and strangers who will become friends. It really is a cool atmosphere.”
— Avery Putnam, five-time Rustic Alum | Sherman, Connecticut

“I signed up for another summer because of the amazing friendships that I made on my first one.”
— Caroline Bronstein, one-time Rustic alum | Orlando, Florida

“After my first year of traveling with Rustic, their programs were all I could think about throughout the school year. I had an amazing time, and I’ve made lifelong friendships with the people I’ve met. Rustic Pathways basically changed my life and I wanted to continue to experience new things with them.”
— Hope Swanson, five-time Rustic alum | Centerville, Massachusetts

Why I Keep Coming Back: The Benefits of Traveling Abroad a Second Time

I want to continue participating in meaningful service 

“I want to feel the thrill of helping others again.”
— Sydney Leiter, two-time Rustic alum | Davie, Florida

“I return every year because no program is the same and each and every one has its perks. The service and locals differ every trip, which makes it so special.”
— Olivia Lantry, five-time Rustic alum | Glencoe, Illinois

I want to continue having new travel experiences 

“I keep coming back to Rustic, because it is a great way to see the world, learn, and meet new people. Rustic programs have taught me to be open-minded and to go with the flow. Rustic leaders are also kind, caring, inspiring, and they always make the trips unforgettable. Another reason I go back to Rustic is because it is pretty affordable; as someone that’s paid for all their trips, getting the star alumni discount has allowed me to continue to travel with Rustic.”
— Elena Alcerro, five-time Rustic alum | Santa Barbara, California

“I keep coming back because every trip I go on gives me a different experience. I always come out of a rustic trip with a little more knowledge than before. Also, every trip I’ve been on has been amazing, and super fun.”
— Alan Jacob, five-time Rustic alum |  Plantation, Florida

“I love Rustic! It gives me the chance to travel the world, while making great friends and just living a life that you wouldn’t normally live.”
— Elena Tinto, five-time Rustic alum | Glencoe, Illinois

Rustic has become my family and home away from home 

“One wasn’t enough, and because I wanted to continue meeting those who were part of the Rustic family.”
— Miyin Delgado Karl, Rustic alum | Miami, Florida

“There are a thousand reasons I keep coming back to Rustic, but mainly because it has given me so many homes away from home. Each summer I join a new community and fall in love with the people and culture who invite me into their homes. It brings me back to the real world, a world where people are happy and are not distracted by materialistic needs.”
— Lauren Berray, five-time Rustic alum | New York, New York

I can’t imagine summer without Rustic Pathways  

“I’ve met my best friends from my trips and each year I meet even more amazing people,” she said. “I am the happiest whenever I am on a Rustic trip. I don’t have any worries, and I feel like I can be myself around everyone both locals and Rustic students. Summers are the time of the year I most look forward to because I know I will get to see the most breathtaking places in the world, and do what I love the most, which is spending time with children. I’ve come back for my fifth trip because I am simply the most content when on a Rustic Pathways trip.”
— Victoria Hernandez Morales, Rustic alum | Guadalajara, Mexico


Are you a Rustic alum who keeps coming back? If so, tell us why in the comments below or share your story on our Facebook page

About the Author

Elizabeth Cortese

Marketing Coordinator

Liz first developed a passion for travel while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rustic student. This taught her at an early age the importance of experiential education for students around the world. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston. When Liz is not hopping from restaurant to restaurant in San Francisco or buried in a New York Times bestseller, she can be found packing her bags to spend time with family and friends.